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  1. #1

    Talking The best type of alcohol for a spray perfume (my concerns).

    This is my first post, I used to be a serial stalker (as others put it).
    I am raising what seems to be a common topic but adding a few specifics that have not been previously covered. I am in search of the 'perfect' solution, if it exists.

    The following assumes I am making a
    50ml bottle of perfume spray (atomiser) that will be applied to skin.
    Using 2ml of essential oils and the rest alcohol with a preservative added at the end.

    Making perfume with Alcohol

    Many people have tried and tested the idea of an alcohol free perfume and gone back to alcohol for it's ease of use. Yet alcohol based perfumes present us (especially myself who already suffers from allergies) with some ethical dilemmas. This is mainly caused by what is added to alcohol products we buy, such as denatured alcohol/ethanol. Which is effectively poisoned (denatured) so that it avoids alcohol taxation and in some countries 'it's allowable use' for general things (i.e. aromatherapy). The additive chemicals can be anything from a carcinogenic compound to an industrial petroleum based product. What concerns me is that; now I know what's in these 'denatured' mixes and having researched their effects on lungs, skin and organs. I wouldn't want to spray them on myself or sell them and be liable for the consequences.

    If I was to make an alcohol based perfume that I feel is safe, then it seems a Russian or Polish Rectified Vodka is the safest solution for a small business/hobbyist. However, it's highly taxed here in the UK and as of such, is overpriced (when compared to denatured ethanol).

    Which brings me to my first 3 questions to this community:
    1. Is there a denatured alcohol/ethanol that you feel is truly safe for the skin, if so I'd love to hear of it, with links?
    (truly safe would not contain methanol, Diethyl phthalate, acetone, Dipropylene Glycol Methyl Ether).
    2. Has no one got around the denatured alcohol justification rules by just adding Tea tree or citronella to ethanol. i.e. making it undrinkable and as a result can call it denatured without adding poisonous additives?
    3. Spirytus Rektyfikowany (rectified spirit) can be found here for 50/litre:
    Is this the cheapest in the UK? Has anyone found a cheaper alternative?

    I also know that I can use a diluent or emulsification process to mix the oil. However, I think it best I stick to the simple subject of alcohol for this post. I have a lot more experience in emulsifiers and I will likely share my knowledge, worries and question later.
    I'd also like to not use industrial made ethanol, so that really rules out the word ethanol altogether (as you can never be positively sure where they sourced it). I wish to rule this out; as industrial ethanol can also carry worries about the effects it has on the nervous system.

    Thanks to all in advance.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The best type of alcohol for a spray perfume (my concerns).

    Welcome Attract.
    First you need to read this poorly titled sticky thread near the top of this forum:

    That thread should really be titled "Everything you ever wanted to know about alcohol for perfumery".

    It seems the situation in England is quite bad for obtaining pure 95% ethanol for perfumery. Here are my answers to your questions.

    1. Some types of denatured alcohol have extremely small amounts of denaturant. You might search for something like that for sale in the UK. The problem is that every jurisdiction is different. Here in Canada I can get denatured 95% ethanol that has less than one part per million of Bitrex, also known as Denatonium. This is present in such minute quantities that honestly, if you did not know it was there, you would probably not have an allergic reaction. I'd suggest a double blind experiment where you obtain some alcohol denatured with Bitrex and some pure 95% ethanol and see if you can tell the difference (not drinking it but just spraying a fraction of a ml on your skin). In general, when I want to use a denatured alcohol for perfume, before I buy it, I simply ask the shopkeeper if I can put a drop on a piece of paper. Usually they are amenable to this. I then wait ten or twenty seconds and smell the paper. If I cannot smell anything, then I consider the stuff good for perfumery. Very often I *can* smell something, so that quickly ends the idea of buying that bottle of denatured alcohol. You can always try this with various brands available in the UK until you find one that works.

    2. I have never heard of this tea tree idea. I would suggest however that by doing this, you are adding hundreds of different molecules to your alcohol, many of which will have distinctive smells that will perturb your perfumery results, and many of which might be sensitizing or allergenic, so it kind of defeats your purpose.

    3. It appears that in the UK for the price of a few litres of that Rektyfikowany stuff you can probably buy the equipment you need to set up a small distillation apparatus and make your own pure ethanol from cheap wine or beer. Maybe start here:

  3. #3

    Default Re: The best type of alcohol for a spray perfume (my concerns).

    Also, look up Prima Sprit on eBay, if you're commited to using non-denatured alcohol. You'll find options closer to €25 per litre.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The best type of alcohol for a spray perfume (my concerns).

    bshell, thank you for your response. Sorry I am replying a week later.
    1. from a personal point of view, I think we are all pushing the boundaries of health and safety when using any denatured alcohol in our perfumes. In a perfect world, our governments would license us to not pay tax and be able to buy it and sell the alcohol in perfume without any denaturant added. Red tape free and healthy.
    2. you are right, it's probably a poor idea at avoiding the tax policies.
    3. I had a look at this, but I feel this could be a bigger headache than it's worth.

    Renegade, I could not find prima spot.

    Based on your feedback and my experiments, I have found a way to use 15% alcohol by volume with water and polysorbate to mix in what I need and get a good spray. This reduces costs of alcohol, I can use drinkable alcohol and I don't need to worry about someone getting ill from my product. It's a delicate process and it doesn't work with resins but it's a small price to pay.

    Thanks to everyone who read this post and to those that replied.

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